April 8, 2008
NEVADA CITY ” More than half of Nevada County residents are overweight or obese, and need to do something about it or suffer the consequences, according to Public Health Officer Dr. Joseph Iser.
“We want to focus on obesity, enhanced nutrition and the need for exercise,” Iser told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. “We are in the process of becoming a fatter, less fit nation.”
The county’s physician said he is targeting the excess weight of 50.2 percent of roughly 100,000 residents as an overall way to bring down chronic disease in the county.
The alarming statistic comes from the California Health Interview Survey done around the state every few years by UCLA, according to Holly Whittaker of the county’s Public Health Department.
To show the rest of the county how to get going, Iser started a six-week walking challenge among the Health and Human Services Agency staff.
He also urged residents to run, walk or bicycle more.
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The doctor urged residents to decrease fat, sugar, and overall calories in general.
The county’s physician also said when residents are eating out they should question restaurants about the contents of their food to make sure they are not overloaded with sugars and salt.
“Prevention means we need healthy food choices,” Iser said, including in the home.
County statistics also show almost 18 percent of the children in the county’s WIC nutrition program who are 2 to 5 years old are overweight or at risk to become so, Iser said.
An unfinished report on the county’s health status was also unveiled at the meeting by Iser.
The leading cause of male deaths in 2006 and 2007 in Nevada County was heart disease, while it was pneumonia in females. The second leading cause for both sexes was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, while the third was cancer, lung, colon and prostate for men and breast cancer for women.
There were 937 deaths in the county during 2007, up from 852 in 2006.
The county also had “relatively high rates,” of the sexually transmitted diseases gonorrhea and chlymedia, Iser said. There were 133 chlymedia cases in 2007 and 16 gonorrhea infections.
The county’s physician agreed with Supervisor Sue Horne when she said the high number of cases was reflective of, “Societal acceptance of sexual activity among our youth.”
The completed portions of the health report will be discussed at a public meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at the Board of Supervisors chambers at the Rood Center, 950 Maidu Avenue in Nevada City.